A whole bunch of news has come out about Bethesda's upcoming DOOM game and we're going to tackle it all in one convenient piece.
Firstly, DOOM will be releasing in Germany completely uncensored according to this tweet from Bethesda's German twitter account:
Germany has had a long history of receiving censored versions of video games (some of which are detailed on this Wikipedia article). Typically, censorship would extend to Nazi imagery in video games in order to comply with laws enacted after World War 2. Another common change has been a reduction in violence and gore, especially if it's very visceral and graphic.
Bethesda's take on DOOM has violence and gore in spades. It's uncertain which factors led to the game being able to be released uncensored - was it the popularity of the title, a lessening of restrictions on violence, or the fact that the enemies aren't human? It may be any combination of these things. Germany's equivalent of the ESRB, the USK, is equally opaque about the details of why exactly it rated a game in a particular way. A search on their website shows that the MS-DOS-era DOOM games were rated 16 and the DOOM 3 titles were rated 18, so while the new DOOM title will be released uncensored it will likely be rated at least 16 (if not 18).
Our next bit of DOOM-related news is that the game is now available for pre-order on XBox One. The game can be pre-loaded now but it won't unlock until 12:01AM EST on the release date of May 13, 2016. A pre-order will also get you access to the Demon Multiplayer Pack. It includes a unique Demon-themed armor set with three different skin choices, six "Hack Module" one-time use consumable perks, six exclusive metallic paint colors, and three "id" logo patterns that can be applied to your armor and weapons. Pre-ordering DOOM on Xbox One will also net you the original DOOM and DOOM II which will work on Xbox One via backwards compatibility.
Lastly, Bethesda has revealed a bit more about the game in a blog post that details "Hack Modules" and the Warpath game mode.
Hack Modules are single-use items that you acquire as you play the game and can't be acquired through microtransactions (although you get six of them as a preorder bonus). They provide you additional information about the game that you wouldn't otherwise have. For instance, the Supply Timer Hack Module shows respawn countdowns on item pickups and the Retribution Hack Module shows you the location and health of the last player who killed you.
Other Hack Modules include Power Seeker (which shows you the location of nearby power-ups), Signs (displays health over the heads of your enemies), and Scout (shows you the location of all enemies for a few seconds after spawning). Hack Modules do not make you directly stronger or tougher - all they do is give you information that other players might not necessarily have.
The Warpath game mode is a Bethesda's take on King of the Hill gameplay. The proverbial Hill moves in a circle around the map in a path that's clearly marked. Opposite the Hill is a power-up that can turn you into a Demon that is ostensibly much tougher than your average DOOM guy. Players will have to choose between going after this unique power-up or trying to capture the hill all while constantly staying on the move.
That's it for the news on DOOM!
I know people who have played competitively in Quake, Team Fortress Classic, and similar games. The blog post seems to make an effort to emphasize that Hack Modules don't make you "stronger", but any competitive Quake or TFC player can tell you information is a strength all its own. Heck, high-level Quake 3 players need to have the respawn timers of a map memorized, and the entire 1v1 gameplay dynamic is centered around trying to keep the best item respawns on lockdown. Having this kind of information can definitely be a big advantage - you might not have a stronger gun... but you might be able to get to one quicker.
What do you think of this take on the DOOM franchise? Are Hack Modules a simple little power-up or a huge game-changer? Let us know in the comments below!